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Old 09-04-08, 10:33 AM   #1
Netdewt
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how much chain noise is normal?

I've got a 1980 Motobecane with Shimano 600 derailers. The chain makes a reasonable about of noise (from the rear derailer/tensioner area), but I don't know what's normal or what to expect from a bike this age. I realize you can't hear it so I can't tell you exactly how loud it is... I can hear it when I'm riding if there's no traffic around, otherwise it drowns out. The rear is indexed, so could it just be an adjustment thing?
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Old 09-04-08, 01:10 PM   #2
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Any ideas for me?
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Old 09-04-08, 01:15 PM   #3
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Generally, a well set-up and lubed bike should be nearly silent. About all you'd hear is the clicking of the freehub pawls when you're coasting.
Sources of chain/drivetrain noise include improperly lubed or worn chain, derailleurs which are not adjusted properly and are either rubbing the chain or letting it want to "try" to shift, and cross-chaining, which will cause some chain rub as well.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:16 PM   #4
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there should be no noise at all if the chain is lube and the dérailleurs are well adjusted.is the chain on the dérailleur 's pulleys.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:18 PM   #5
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I will agree with the others that posted here. My 1980 Falcon makes no more noise than my 2005 Trek, which makes almost no noise at all. Both are well adjusted and lubricated.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:42 PM   #6
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My chain is really greased up, it leaves black grease on anything it touches (came that way from eBay seller). He said it was "recently tuned". I'll definitely check the rear derailer when I get home, and maybe stop by the LBS if I can't figure it out. The second to largest cog never shifts onto right, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's a chain alignment thing.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:15 PM   #7
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Sounds like it is time to clean and lubricate the drive train to me. A gunky black chain is dirty and will lead to noise.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:56 PM   #8
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Check out this video, I assume this is normally how it sounds. Minus the beeping.


My own hasn't been lubed I dun remember how long, yet sounds "normal" to me, in fact quieter than the video above. But not totally silent, I do want it to make "some" noise.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:14 PM   #9
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Yep, black goop coming off the chain is not good. And as for trusting sellers it can be a hit and miss sort of deal.

First of all I'd clean the whole shebang including the derrailleur pulleys. This would in clude the bearings and pins of the pulleys as well. Then oil it and look up info on the Park Tools and Sheldon's website and read up on how to adjust the rear derraileurs. It's knowledge you'll want in any event. While you're at it measure the chain. When you line up a 12 inch ruller at a pin then the pin at the other end should be within less than 1/16 over 12 inches. If it's much over 1/16 inch past 12 inches then the chain is shot and you need a new one. If it's up around 1/8 inch over then it's dead meat on a stick without any doubt at all.

If the chain is dead meat big time I'd suspect that the cassette is worn as well, at least on the more used sprockets. However start with a new chain and if it's not running far more quietly then look at a new cassette.

Normally the chain is very quiet and the usual freehub pawl noise is louder. If the drive train is louder than the freewheeling noise then you've got troubles.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:38 PM   #10
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My chain is really greased up, it leaves black grease on anything it touches (came that way from eBay seller). He said it was "recently tuned". I'll definitely check the rear derailer when I get home, and maybe stop by the LBS if I can't figure it out. The second to largest cog never shifts onto right, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's a chain alignment thing.
Black grease doesn't mean anything. Most people use the crappy chain lube which will leave more junk sitting on the outside of the chain.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:55 PM   #11
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I feel your pain, Netdewt. I heard a chain noise coming from the back of my bike last week while on vacation. I took it to my LBS yesterday, before I'd inspected it closely. I told the mechanic the noise came on suddenly; before that, I'd heard no chain noise except in the front derailleur in the crossover gears; I heard the noise in every gear on the biggest chainring, didn't hear it all on the smallest chainring, and on the middle chainring I heard it only on the three lowest gears.

I told the mechanic if you start out on the middle chainring in fourth gear, you'll hear what my bike usually sounds like: quiet. Then downshift into third, then second, then first. I figured with that kind of background a competent mechanic could diagnose the problem the way an optometrist could diagnose blindness if you said you couldn't see anything.

The mechanic took it for a test-ride (he said) and claimed he couldn't hear a noise. OK, gimme back my bike. I took it home, put it on my trunk rack (I don't have a workstand), pedaled forward with my hand and clearly heard the noise coming from the upper pulley in the rear derailleur. Clear as a bell.

I concluded that the noise, while new to me, was a normal noise. The LBS mechanic must've heard it. How could he not have heard it? He just didn't hear it as abnormal. Based on what I'm reading here, the noise isn't normal.
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Old 09-07-08, 09:39 PM   #12
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It's not louder than the the freewheel noise, but it is louder than I would expect. I checked the chain and it's perfectly 12" from one pin to another. I also tried to read the Park Tool derailleur adjustment tutorial and I'm a little afraid to mess something up. That's got to be one of the most complicated parts of bike maintenance. I might check with my LBS and see if they think anything is wrong or not.
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Old 09-07-08, 09:43 PM   #13
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From the info in the last post I'd say it may be due to the derrailleur being a tweak off of perfect. Or it may well be normal. Most drive trains other than my single speed setups do have a small amount of chain noise. It's seldom more than a whisper though. When it gets more noisy I clean and relube and it goes away.
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